Twelve Ten, No. 10

Twelve Ten is a first step
an experiment
a playground.
It’s a space to look at
write and talk about
the world we live in
in all its myriad forms.
Image: Prasanna Kumar @ Unsplash

Editor’s Note


It’s 2018 and there’s a lot of reading to be done.
So why not start right now?
Here it goes:

2017 was a shocking and exhausting year for many, and 2018 looks like it will be equally full of newness and strangeness and general human madness. How best to prepare for the coming 12 months than to gird your loins with diverse perspectives on this epic tome called life? The following is a compilation of a few such pieces: from the predilections of book thieves to arguments with a 2nd Grader about Wikipedia; from the tinted glasses of faith to the explosiveness of women speaking out, come hell or high water – all of it is good stuff and a great way to start your reading-year.

The essays and articles are from LitHub and Electric Literature, The Paris Review and The Cut, which are fantastic online spaces to get your reading muscles all warmed-up. To read the articles, simply click on the image under the headers and you’re ready to go.

And of course: Good Luck in 2018!


The Satisfaction of Stamping Things

A short(ish) piece on a slightly cooky little world. If you ever wanted a WTF?! stamp, this just might be the thing for you. Enjoy!

Image: Marcus de Paula @ Unsplash

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Cats and Persons: The Return of The Short Story

“Cat Person” went viral over a December weekend, and the Twitterverse was breathless with reactions and overreactions and counter-reactions. A few simply celebrated the fact that a short story gained so much traction, yet the majority of commenters seemed to take exception with the subject as a whole. Questons of relatability and (auto)biography were hotly debated, furious arguments about gender, maturity, body and desire bounced about. Everyone seemed to have some kind of an opinion by 31 December 2017. If you missed this online moment, here’s an opportunity to dip a toe or two in and see for yourself. Enjoy…

Image: Nathan Riley @ Unsplash

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Not-so-creative Dispossession

There are different kinds of book-enthusiasts:

Those who want to own a library, those who never leave the library, and those who walk into bookshops and decide food is less important than this book right here for 9,99. There are those who walk into indie bookstores and want to set up camp forever, others who are happy with the likes of Barnes & Noble or Waterstones, and the growing majority who see as the go-to place to get Something to Read.

One could argue endlessly about preferences and the market, but what is interesting is that, beyond all this, people want books. Some people want books so much they stop caring about ethics and just bunk off with the loot. Yes, even in this day and age of 0,99 Kindle editions, book thieves are real. Leaving aside the booksellers who are materially damaged by this thieving, there is a certain kind of bookfiend who sees this kind of theft as an absolute sacrilege, forget the outrage. Others see it as a quirk of human psychology. Yet others wonder what the owner of Black Books would say…

The following is a list of the most stolen books compiled by several USAmerican bookshops. A world-wide study would be quite interesting. Enjoy(!)

Image: Janko Ferlic @ Unsplash

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What Reading Means:
A Conversation with a 2nd Grader

Reading seems to be such a normal, everyday thing, it is easy to forget that we who read for business and pleasure all had to learn how to read first – and that the process of Learning How To Read is actually not so easy. Some of us had elementary school reading hours, scheduled once a month, made more exciting due to the snacks and soda available while lounging about, reading paperbacks such as Ramona Quimby, Age 8, James and the Giant Peach or Charlotte’s Web. Others saw reading as another part of detention, stuck in the hateful business under a parent’s watchful eye. Yet others disappeared into their rooms with, e.g., Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and were never seen again – until dinner.

There are countless stories of First Readings, of that first childhood journey into radically different worlds, shockingly familiar ones, or faraway places full of adventure and danger, all of them brimming with tales of strange children and weird adults, growing-pains and heartbreak, courage, friendship, loyalty, and incredible feats of magic; places that opened the mundane world full of parents and homework, bedtime and teachers into worlds that enlivened young minds, stirred young passions, and made young hearts soar sky high.

Who didn’t wish they could stumble randomly into abandoned wardrobes and face that shining street lamp in the middle of the woods? Or those who, on their 11th birthday, hoped and hoped and hoped – please, please, pretty-please – for genuine Owl Post, even a Howler yelling WHERE ARE YOU?! would do. For the older generations, it was maybe wondering whether Prince Pondicherry’s chocolate castle was actually possible. Willi Wonka in general was just the right kind of mad: flamboyant, vindictive, sweet-tempered, passionate, and he hated everybody equally because nobody seemed to really understand. Also, he invented the most amazing things…

Reading is the key needed to unlock books, those doors into universes of such imagination, ever-new book lovers are born each day. In the following, the struggle of crossing from deciphering-letters-on-paper to reading-a-book is encapsulated by a writing father arguing with his reading son. An unexpectedly thought-provoking read.

Image: Annie Sprat @ Unsplash

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Power and Perspective:

Life “Through a Glass Darkly”

What happens when your faith crumbles? What leads to the disintegration? What triggers the fall-out? We may live in a millennial world, but the problem of religious doubt vs. certainty is as topical as ever. In matters of faith, how tinted are one’s own glasses? And what happens when they’re knocked off? Allison Stockman at Electric Literature writes insightfully about the life-changing shift in perspective one book afforded her in matters of selfhood and faith. A worthwhile read.

Image: Death To Stock

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Courage, dear heart!

A little light viewing: John Boyega and Gwendoline Christie face The Fear Box. Would you dare? Enjoy!


Writing: A Story

Writing is not easily done. It takes discipline and diligence to sit down at your desk daily and write something. If it’s meaningful too, so much the better. Whether fiction or non-fiction, academic essays or epic stories in sequel: writing is a creative craft. Very often just getting the first draft jotted down is an ordeal equal to crossing a desert of endless white. Anyone who has ever opened an empty .docx file knows the feeling: ‘Fiat Lux, huh? It sounded so darn easy in that book.’

How do it, though? How get yourself to really write those sentences? How finish that paragraph? How get a good word-count? How get the whole thing going? How get it all done? There are many ways to do this and the following writer’s advice might help you along.

Don’t give up.
Keep on writing.

Image: Brad Neathery @ Unsplash

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Hot off the Press

Over at The Cut Moira Donegan did something audacious, brazen, and very brave. In this particular cultural moment, the prologue – the initial Spreadsheet and how it went viral; the threat of doxing via exposure by Harper’s Katie Roiphe, not to mention the ensuing online backlash – and Moira Donegan’s pro-active stance of telling her own story encapsulates the shocks of 2017 in many ways. It also points to what we may expect in 2018, since this ball just started rolling. Whether you agree with Donegan or not, her words are very illuminating. They shed a light on the unspoken inner workings of those media enterprises that have put their stamp on the 20th and 21st century, from publishing to movie-making and back. A definite must-read.

Image: Brandon Lopez @ Unsplash

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And, finally, for the editors and proofreaders among you, here’s a small something to keep you going. Take heart, keep up the great work, and may 2018 be full of gems in the Slush Pile.

* * *

In Brief

We hope you enjoyed our tenth edition. Twelve Ten, No. 11 will be published on
12 April 2018.
We are sad to say that submissions are currently closed. We are unfortunately unable to take on any new manuscripts at present.
Even so: Don’t give up. Keep on writing!
Once submissions are open again, we will be very glad to hear from you.
Your von reuth Team


Feaured image: Alfons Morales at Unsplash
Image: Alvaro Serrano @ Unsplash

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